‘Socially distanced’ ticket booth and independent movies as Westgate’s Carlton Cinema welcomes back customers

Welcome back to the Carlton

The Carlton Cinema in Westgate has refurbished and reopened its ticket office booth as part of new social distancing measures for customers.

The three screen cinema, originally built in 1910 as the town hall, has a series of measures in place – including a pre-order for food and drink – to make it covid secure for film-goers.

Manager Vic Ainsworth said: “We have a queueing system managed at the front of the cinema and have refurbished out little ticket office so it is back up and running – the original social distancing booth.”

Customers can order food with ticket collection but there is also the option to order online so it is ready when customers arrive.

Seating is also socially distanced with two seats either side of customers left empty. There is also a one way system and separate entrance and exit routes.

Vic said: “We have increased our staffing levels so there is always someone on the door when people come in and for when people leave. There are regular checks so if anything makes a customer feel uncomfortable they can let us know.”

There is also a regular cleaning schedule and use of a non-toxic fogging machine which cleans with natural products.

All staff who were furloughed – bar one who is shielding – are now back at work, giving the cinema a team of 15.

Vic said: “Being furloughed was worrying so it is really nice to be open again.”

Cinemas closed in March as part of the pandemic restrictions are were given the green light by government to reopen – with strict covid secure criteria – from July 4 although many independent cinemas are staying closed until at least September due to being smaller venues.

From today (August 8) it is mandatory to wear a face covering while in a cinema.

The film choices are also more varied with many of the bigger grossing movies have put back release dates.

Vic said: “We have all new films showing at the moment and  smaller release ones. There are independent British films too which is nice.”

Currently on offer are:

Hope and Gap (12a) A family drama with Annette Bening, Bill Nighy, and Josh O’Connor.

Love story Summerland (12a)

The Fairy Princess and the Unicorn (U)

Unhinged (15)

More details online here


  1. I went to The Carlton a couple of days ago (to see the excellent ‘Summerland’), and I can honestly say I felt safer there than in most shops. Really nice staff too!

  2. Glad to hear that face masks will be mandatory. When I visited a few days ago an (unmasked) elderly couple were coughing and spluttering all over the place. As they were sitting on the end of our row, we were a bit trapped and uncomfortable with it.

  3. Genuine question- how are you supposed to eat and drink in a cinema whilst wearing a face covering? Or are you allowed to munch popcorn throughout the duration of the film without one??

  4. I feel very sorry for all venues at the moment, but the thought of sitting for 2 hours in a theatre wearing a face mask is not for me.

  5. Well done the Carlton, and I hope it goes well. But there is no way I could sit through a film wearing a mask!

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